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Your Guide to Ashley Madison Evidence in a Divorce

Your Guide to Ashley Madison Evidence in a Divorce
Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C.

Woe to those who go by the name Ashley Madison - at least for now, until the name fades from public memory. Google "Ashley Madison" and you'll find a plethora of news about the infamous hack, which led to the identities of 37 million users leaked to the world in August 2015.

Of course, this doesn't concern you. Unless you happen to be one of those 37 million souls or their spouse, and you wish to remain married, happily or not.

"Life is short. Have an affair."

The tagline for the social network/online-dating site is rather blunt: "Life is short. Have an affair." Catering to an apparent market of married people seeking extramarital sex (if not sex, at least flirtation), Ashley Madison charges users to initiate conversations with other members and for chat sessions in real time.

In a sense, Ashley Madison is not so different from online pornography (which can be just as problematic to a marriage), but with the distinction that the site helps facilitate actual encounters between married men and women.

The fallout has been significant.

Thus, we have the tragic suicide of John Gibson, one of the 37 million whose identity was leaked, a pastor and father of two who taught at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

We have - and this will come as no surprise, nor will it garner sympathy - Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman stepping down from his post, according to the New York Times. Biderman's 30-gig email archive was also released to the world by hackers, revealing that he was likely aware his site wasn't as secure as the company had claimed.

And we have "John Doe" (fittingly, from Madison, Tennessee), who claims that the Ashley Madison hack meant the end of his marriage.

Your Ashley Madison profile could be evidence in divorce court.

The Ashley Madison hack is just the latest contribution to the ongoing saga of social media and other web-based evidence in divorce and family law cases. It is only a matter of time - if it hasn't happened already - before someone attempts to use her soon-to-be ex-spouse's Ashley Madison profile as leverage in a contested matter.

Child custody comes to mind.

While Texas does not require proof of adultery as a prerequisite to divorce, it remains a factor in the determination of many issues, including the percentage division of the estate. It could also affect child custody and property division matters, if for no other reason than the Ashley Madison profile may indicate to the judge that the spouse is not as dedicated to family as the spouse claims to be.

Seek Experienced Legal Representation

In a constantly-evolving technological world, the use of social media posts and profiles, including those from Ashley Madison, have potential to serve as evidence in divorce cases. If you find yourself facing divorce and Ashley Madison has affected your marriage negatively, contact the family law attorneys of Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C., to evaluate your options.